Harassment and discrimination contact officers (HDCOs)

HDCOs are staff who are trained to assist staff and students with enquiries related to discrimination, harassment or bullying. There are approximately 75 HDCOs across the University, available to provide confidential information and support for a diverse range of staff and student concerns.

HDCO Support

A variety of issues, complaints and grievances may arise in a working and learning environment. Deakin seeks to foster a culture that enables staff and students to raise any concerns they may have in order to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all members of our University community.

HDCOs volunteer and are trained to provide confidential information and support to staff and students with concerns relating to discrimination, harassment, bullying, vilification and victimisation. They inform a person about their options to raise and resolve a concern, and the relevant policies and supports available to them. HDCOs can attend meetings in the capacity of a support person. They are available to support a staff member or student wishing to raise a concern, and also staff members and students who have had a complaint made against them.

HDCOs maintain confidentiality in strict accordance with the University’s Privacy Policy. They will not advocate for individuals or take action to resolve a complaint. Instead, their role is to offer options and referrals that assists students and staff members to determine the steps they wish to take in response to an issue of concern.

Benefits of HDCOs

Prior to being appointed to the role, HDCOs must show that they have:

  • a commitment to equal employment opportunity (EEO) and diversity principles
  • the ability to liaise effectively with people at all levels of the organisation whilst acting discreetly, objectively, impartially and maintaining confidentiality
  • the capacity to be accessible to staff and students when required

What will a HDCO do?

We recognise the courage it can take to raise a complaint. We also recognise the difficulty experienced by staff and students who have had a complaint made against them. HDCOs help ensure that each person’s voice is heard and taken seriously.

HDCOs are in close contact with staff and students across all areas of the University. They understand many of the local issues that affect the University community, as well as Deakin’s policy framework that applies in situations relating to discrimination, harassment and bullying.

Staff and students are able to raise their concerns confidentially with a HDCO, before choosing whether they wish to progress with any further action.

Accessing a HDCO

Staff and students can select any HDCO from the network list and contact them by email or phone. Staff and students are welcome to choose a HDCO from their immediate work or study area. Alternatively, they can select a HDCO who is further removed from their area if they prefer.

Individuals can also request a referral to a particular HDCO by contacting the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator: Mediation and Complaints.


More information

If you would like to know more about the role of HDCOs, contact:

Manager, Inclusive Communities (03) 522 73589

Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, Mediation and Complaints (03) 522 78998

or email: respectbelongthrive@deakin.edu.au

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